Growing up, Alexandria Camden never thought she would be in the military. It was only after she took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test—a prerequisite to military service — that she seriously considered it.
“I scored well on it and had a lot of the recruiters come and talk to me. I decided that the military was a good option for me, for my education and to get out and see the world.”
In 2000, 18-year-old Camden joined the U.S. Air Force as a radio operator. Three years later, she retrained as a bioenvironmental engineering technician, and would later use those skills in her career at Barrick.
“I was kind of like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) of the Air Force,” she recalls.
Camden stayed in that role for five years, where she took on supervisory duties. She was responsible for identifying and evaluating potential hazards on base, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, and performing industrial hygiene duties, including taking food, soil, and water samples.
Doing the right thing when nobody’s looking—that’s instilled in you from day one in the military.
Through on the job training in the military, Camden refined her technical and leadership skills. “I got a lot of leadership training. I was a supervisor and so I got a lot of one-on-one interaction with troops and handling situations.”
She, however, left her post in 2008 to spend more time raising her two-year-old daughter.
While one of the hardest parts of the transition was losing the day-to-day structure offered by the military, Camden says she’s glad to have served as it has strengthened her character.
“The biggest one for me was integrity: doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. That, I mean, it’s instilled in you from day one in the military.”
Camden joined Barrick last November as an Industrial Hygiene Specialist, and performs similar tasks as she did in the Air Force.
While the roles are alike, Camden notes Barrick is less concerned about hierarchy and is open to listening to your ideas, despite how long you have been with the Company. “It doesn’t matter if you worked here a day, or ten years, if you’ve got a good idea, it’s a good idea.”
With both careers, Camden adds, she’s been grateful for the opportunity. “I tried to make the most of every opportunity, so I can be as much of a benefit to Barrick, and at the time to the military, as they have been to me in my life.”
Commenting on Barrick’s sponsorship of the upcoming Veterans Career Summit, Camden says: “There are not enough companies out there that appreciate the veteran workforce and appreciate what veterans do for our country. I think it’s a great thing that Barrick steps up and does that.”
Barrick employs hundreds of veterans around the globe. This week during the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, you’ll hear from a number of Barrick veterans on what their military service was like, the defining moments they had, the transition from military to civilian life, and how their service has helped them in their roles at Barrick.
Some also shared their thoughts on the Company’s sponsorship of the Veterans Career Summit.
The Summit aims to connect veterans with potential employers and career counsellors to help them find meaningful employment after the military. It takes place on September 28 and 29.